Florida basketball's court at the O'Connell Center will soon bear the name of the legendary coach who won the program its only two national titles: Billy Donovan. UF announced in a statement on Friday their court will bear Donovan's name as a tribute to the two-time title-winning coach of Florida, who now coaches the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"It had been on my radar for some time, and Jeremy [Foley] made it clear it was something that was important to him," said Florida's athletic director Scott Stricklin. "During my time at Kentucky, I had a front-row seat for the impact Billy made, not just on the Florida program, but our league. You saw the kind of coach and person he was, and the respect he had around the country. This was just an obvious way to honor him."
Donovan was hired away from Marshall by former athletic director Jeremy Foley to tail over at Florida in 1996 where he coached for nearly two decades. He won consecutive national championships with the Gators in 2006 and 2007 and went to four Final Fours -- including one in in 2014, the year before jumping to the NBA. He is the winningest coach in program history.
"What Billy accomplished here no one ever could have anticipated," Foley said. "There's probably a whole generation that thinks Florida basketball has always been on the map. Is that true? The answer to that question is 'no.' Pockets of success, yes, but then he came here and built a program that is recognized as a national brand. He did it with an outstanding group of assistant coaches and an incredible support staff, but at the end of the day, Billy Donovan created something very special here."